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המכללה האקדמית בית ברל > English > About Us > News > Newsletter > April 2020 Newsletter > Prize-Winning Involvement: Building Environmental Awareness among Kids with Special Needs

Prize-Winning Involvement: Building Environmental Awareness among Kids with Special Needs

The Israeli Council for Higher Education awarded three Beit Berl students a national prize for community engagement.


Marking Environment Week, three Education students―Fatima Massarwa–Abedelkader, Nashwa Massarwa and Mona Abu Ful―created a project at Al Manar School in Tira to increase children's awareness of environmental damage, teach them how to reduce household waste, and improve the school's physical environment. But Al Manar is not a regular public school; it is a school for Special Education. For designing the project, Fatima, Nashwa and Mona were among ten college students nationwide who won the prestigious Community Involvement prize of the Israeli Council for Higher Education.

"The Al Manar School in Tira serves children with special needs aged 5-21 from Arab communities throughout the 'Triangle' area," elaborates Prof. Abidelfatah Nasser, who teaches the course 'Sustainability and Environmental Education for Preschoolers' and who was the project's adviser. "When I visited the school, it was like a desert, without colors; the teachers are tired and overworked. I wanted to change the atmosphere and teach the children about the environment."

The 24 students in Prof. Nasser's class were divided into small groups, and they spent an entire week at the school, conducting special activities with the children and decorating the buildings to add color and improve the atmosphere. In addition to creating "green walls" for hanging plants and adding decorative elements, the students also planted many flowers on the school grounds.

Prof. Nasser nominated the three students for the Community Involvement prize because they were outstandingly dedicated. All three are now completing their 3rd year at Beit Berl College, and are on track to become preschool and elementary school teachers.

"It is an honor to receive this prize. It acknowledges our hard work; it increases awareness of the importance of teaching sustainability and the environment in the Arab community; and highlights schools for Special Education that are in great need of such activities," concludes Prof. Nasser.

Special thanks to Beit Berl Dean of Students Dr. Ya'acov Tepler, Al Manar principal Futhana Kassem, and Agriculture teacher Liali Mansur.

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